The protest movement in Ukraine, now in its fourth week, still turns out big crowds — ranging wildly on Dec. 15 from 20,000 people by police estimates to 200,000 people by Interfax-Ukraine news agency’s count. The real number appeared to be closer to the higher estimate.
While the demonstrators continue winning over allies at home and internationally, it’s still not clear how they will achieve their aim of forcing Yanukovych to step down and call early presidential and parliament elections, among other demands.
After the government’s numerous stumbles, including police brutality that triggered a backlash and enlivened the protest movement, Yanukovych may be content to just wait out the crowd as the winter holidays approach amid sub-zero temperatures. However, given the government’s frequent missteps in responding to the crowd’s demands, EuroMaidan could stay invigorated if Yanukovych takes more unpopular actions — such as mak the first steps to joining the Russian-led Customs Union when he visits Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Dec. 17.